Victorians soon will have another opportunity to lay claim to their small-town heritage and heighten their affection for Victoria’s historic downtown charm. The holiday season will take off with Christmas on the Square on Friday followed by the Lighted Christmas Parade on Saturday. Both Victoria Parks and Recreation events will begin at 6 p.m. and end around 9 p.m.

This is the first year that Aero Crafters will participate in the free parade. The beer garden and gastropub’s float will join almost eight dozen others to roll along the Lighted Christmas Parade route. However, the trailer will have a slight aerodynamic edge – or two. Chris McDowell, the general manager at Aero Crafters, and his friend Ruben Gonzalez are building airplane wings from plywood and two-by-fours to help their float “Take Flight,” the theme of their entry. During the evening of the parade, the trailer will double as an airplane passenger compartment.

“We just want to be more involved in the community,” McDowell said. “We couldn’t do it without Victoria coming out and supporting us … and we want to let them know that we are pet and family-friendly.”

McDowell already has purchased flight attendant uniforms for the elves in his crew of about 10 who will wave to the crowd. A giant inflatable beer mug and strings of lights also will add life to the parade.

More than 135 parade entrants, including 77 floats and trailers, six marching bands, 12 cheer and dance teams, and a slew of custom cars and motorcycles, will make their way through the crowd-lined streets. Santa Claus will send off community members to celebrate the holiday season in grand style on the float that brings up the rear of the parade.

On Friday, Christmas on the Square, a free, family-friendly event, will transform downtown Victoria into a bouncy-ville that even adults can enjoy. Snow Mazing, an inflatable maze, Snow Zilla, a junior inflatable with a slide, and Elf Yourself, an inflatable with photo opportunities in Santa’s workshop, will fill the square.

Children will enjoy free hot chocolate and cookies, and Santa Claus will take a break from his busy schedule to check his Crossroads list twice in the gazebo. Fry’s Fun Farm Petting Zoo will give children the chance to interact with sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits, chickens, ducks and geese. And a Theatre Victoria group will add to the evening ambiance with Christmas caroling.

Both nights, from seven to 10 food vendors including Grammy’s Snack Wagon, the Fry Shack, the Lunch Box, Trevino’s Concessions and Trevino’s Funnel Cakes and More will sell a variety of sweet and savory fare from their menus.

On Friday only, several merchandise vendors will set up shop to peddle wares including jewelry, clothing, books, quilts, flags, toys, bakery items, handmade arts and crafts, and all-natural dog treats. And four-legged friends can sample the snacks at the event as long as they are tethered to their owners by leashes.

“These two events are put on for the community to share in Christmas spirit together as friends and family – to be able to come together to enjoy this holiday season,” said Gabby Anglin, the recreation coordinator for the city of Victoria.

Elena Anita Watts covers arts, culture and entertainment for the Victoria Advocate. 

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